This year has been a tumultuous one for mobile handset manufacturers, with Apple  dragging people to court left, right and center; Intel joining the smartphone race with its Atom processor, Nokia ditching Symbian after over ten years of development and companies this year turning lower and lower profit margins thanks to the dominance of Android.

It looks like competition is no longer healthy, at least in a market served all over by the same handful of manufacturers producing the screens, the chipsets, the chassis and RAM and the OS. Right now there are only three big players left in the market – Apple, Google through its many software partners and Microsoft, now attempting a takeover of more market share with the Windows market place. Since there’s a ton of news out this morning, I’m lumping it all here for you to peruse. Grab a cup of coffee and some calming pills if you’re a Blackberry or Nokia fanboy. 

NOKIA JUST ABOVE WATER

Starting off with the sinking ship that has been the old Finnish handset and tyre manufacturer, Nokia’s Steve Elop, the company’s CEO, revealed last week that they’re a ways away from earning any good profit margins. The company will be cutting a further ten thousand jobs by the end of 2013, bringing both the manufacturing and software development departments to a skeleton staff workforce. Since the release of the Nokia 808 Pureview (pictured above), its expected that Symbian S^3 in its current Belle form will only get the planned feature packs codenamed Carla and Donna for new hardware, with the company only producing Symbian S40 and S30 handsets for the remainder of their market. I’m betting that they’ll kill off Symbian development entirely midway through next year, with only Windows Phone handsets in the Lumia family as your options.

In addition to the job cuts, Nokia’s factory in Salo, Finland will also close, hitting the families and area that surrounds it hard with a lack of work available. The factories in Ulm, Germany and Burnaby, Canada will also close.  The company will, from now on, concentrate on marketing and sales activities and will make strategic investments and aquirements of valuable IP from other smaller company to help enhance their Lumia lineup. There’s also a crapload of older Nokia employees in various management roles leaving the company this year, with the last of the Symbian supporters and dev teams leaving the company at the end of 2013. Its a sad, sad day for Nokia fans.

Also, quite interestingly, others have noticed that all of this leads up to what I can clearly make out to be a planned takeover by Microsoft (I called this the day after the February 14th announcement last year). Had the company bought out Nokia outright in February, it would have had to negotiate much larger retrenchment packages and the whole operation would have cost millions of Dollars more than it has done by simply putting Steven Elop at the helm. The share price of the company has dropped by 80%, meaning that Microsoft will make a killing as their Windows Phone platform gains more popularity.

Source: All About Symbian

RIM AND BLACKBERRY’S FUTURE IS FURTHER CLOUDED

Seriously, Blackberry owners need to take those pills now. The company announced recently that they are operating on a net loss of $518 million, down by 33% from last year. CEO Thorsten Heins must be going grey right now as the company shipped just under eight million handsets (down from eleven million last year) and just over a quarter of a million Playbooks.

The Playbook, now officially a dud. Yes, you can point and laugh at the guys who bought this, although that’s just really cruel.

There’s more woes on the way, with the planned OS10 upgrade being pulled back to 2013 thanks to a need for a revised financial outlook of the situation. OS10 is the company’s only chance to pull itself back from near-obscurity in America and Europe, bringing up the software and the hardware platforms level with Android. The only reason why RIM’s mobiles are so popular in our beautiful country is because of the uncapped on-device internet service, costing users just R2 per day. Seriously, the only reason.

RIM is also looking at a restructuring project and has announced that they’ll be giving notice to 5000 employees across the globe that the company can’t afford them anymore. The company hopes this will save them $1 billion in expenses, hopefully freeing up money for other projects. Its not over yet though, as I expect the upcoming Android OS 4.1, Jelly Bean, to further kick the company while it’s down alongside another operating loss in the current quarter of 2012.

If RIM doesn’t pull itself together by midway through next year, it’ll be prime time for a takeover consideration, otherwise the whole thing could crumble in on itself. Remember, we’ve seen retail companies go bankrupt nearly overnight, so RIM needs to get into gear before its too late. It doesn’t help that BIS was a total letdown yesterday for a total of three and a half hours.

Source: GSM Arena

FLASH SUPPORT FOR ANDROID ENDS AUGUST 15, DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

If you’re running Android ICS 4.0 and any previous software version, I’d suggest downloading Flash from the Google Play store before it disappears. Adobe anounced last year thay they would cease development for the Android platform, citing a growing adoption rate for HTML 5 websites as well as decreased market share as more manufacturers dump the web standard that has been with us since 1995.

Adobe has now announced that August 15th of this year is the final date on which you’ll be able to download the software from the Google Play store. Both tablets and mobile phones as well as a few customised set-top boxes will suffer from this announcement, prompting some users to possibly never upgrade their software ever again. Speaking of software upgrades, you’ll also need to uninstall Flash Player before upgrading to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, due out in the next few months.

Source: GSM Arena

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